Seven songs into The Blue Stones’ killer opening set, all four members of The Beaches came on stage with a bottle of Champagne and ear-to-ear smiles. Blue Stones singer-guitarist Tarek Jafar smiled knowingly and stood aside as the girls announced they’d just won their second Juno (this time for “Rock Album of the Year”) and hugged Tarek and Blue Stones drummer Justin Tessier.
Jafar and Tessier finished their set with “Black Holes” and “Shakin’,” and then tear-down began on their gear as stagehands prepped for The Beaches’ 9:15 set time. Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Leandra Earl, and Eliza Enman-McDaniel took the stage in summery attire appropriate for the unseasonably humid thirty-degree temperature, knowing it would be even hotter in the venue under the all of the stage lighting.
The performance’s mood was a celebratory one; The Beaches are one of Toronto’s finest modern musical acts, and they were performing a lengthy set of their material this evening – one of twenty Canadian headlining tour dates. This Future Lovers tour is centred around the Sisters Not Twins LP, a compilation of their 2021 Future Lovers EP and 2019’s The Professional EP onto a single platter, which was being sold signed and unsigned at the merch booth on a new white vinyl pressing.
It struck me that this evening was the first time I’d seen the band truly headline a venue. I have seen them at festivals, as an opener for other bands, and at industry events, but I’d never seen them roll out a 22-song performance that touched on so much of their material in one ninety-minute shot like this. So many drummers get buried behind their kits and wind up obstructed in a live setting. I like how The Beaches tend to set Eliza Enman-McDaniel to the left side of the stage. This allows her to be seen performing if patrons stay on the right side of the venue. Eliza is such an animated heavy hitter; she is a total joy to watch perform. I consider her one of the best drummers in Canada and would rank her high on a list of top living drummers.
Jordan Miller once again managed numerous sidekicks as she performed, which always amazes the audience given how tied to the microphone she needs to stay to deliver the vocals proficiently. Kylie Miller and Leandra Earl got to switch sides a few times during the show, occasionally striding atop a riser adjacent to Eliza’s drum kit to jam out on their guitars when the songs allowed.
A killer cover of Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” got performed this evening to much delight from the Guelph audience. I’d estimate the attendance this evening was heavier on female attendees (many of them youngsters); a few even brought their moms along for the ride! Jordan thanked the audience for supporting Canadian music and called out more than once to The Blue Stones as a superb band, expressing how happy they were to have them along for their full Canadian tour. Tonight was a great gig – catch the Future Lovers tour in a city near you if you can.
The Beaches Guelph Setlist:
Want What You Got
Back of My Heart
Good For A While
You Don’t Owe Me Anything
Maneater (Nelly Furtado cover)